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June 20, 2016
by May De Jesus-Palacpac
41 Comments

An afternoon of Grab & Go Monopoly with my young Goofballs

It’s not really boredom per se, but my kids and I have been staying at my parents’ home for almost two weeks since Jay left for Singapore and Malaysia to serve in the Kids Camp there. It’s his first time to not be home for more than a week so we thought it best that I get help with the kids.

I would have gotten a babysitter, but we figured it would be much too costly to do so, so Jay took us to the South for our short vacation the day before he met his team at the airport.

Me and my goof balls!

For most days, our stay was going well. I was able to work without distraction because my mom’s helpers (a stay in and a stay out) were taking care of everything else – from running after the kids in the yard, breaking in our dog Max who’s moving in with my parents and their other dogs, to our meals and our laundry.

However, the house isn’t exactly completely child-friendly, with piles of wood everywhere and a non-landscaped yard, so it wasn’t ideal to let the kids loose all the time. I have to admit, I resorted to letting them play with the gadgets for long hours because they kept them in one spot and everyone was able to relax and go about with their routines.

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They didn’t bring too many toys and we didn’t have books with us except for one that we’re returning to the lender, so without the gadgets, the kids easily get bored. I originally planned to take the kids to the malls with me but after taking out my eldest on our first day, I learned it wasn’t as easy as when we go around BGC, so that plan was ditched. That’s when I decided to get the mini monopoly set from the toy store to get their eyes off the gadgets.

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Less than 300

The set only costs Php 299.75 which made it very affordable considering how pricey monopoly sets are. We have two sets at home, actually. One is a fake one given to us as a gift but that gave us so many fun times and the Millionaire’s Monopoly set which I bought from a fellow homeschooler on Facebook.

I knew it was going to be tiny, but thought, “hey, it’s still Monopoly!” You know what I mean?

mini-monopoly

Everything was tiny

Well, it’s a mini after all. The houses were way too tiny, so were the tokens and the dice; the bills were no longer than my thumb and it only had 4 Chance cards, which was the bummer thing about it. In our games, the Chance cards provide some of the highlights when we play.

I do understand it’s a travel toy, you know, keep them as compact as you can, but at the same time, it was just too small for us.  When we played, it wasn’t long before I was getting weary of it. The only thing that kept me going was that my 5 year old was doing extremely well (it was his first time to join us in Monopoly) at waiting for his turn, rolling the dice, counting the steps for his token and with a lot of help, purchasing properties. In fact, he had the most earning properties by the third time we passed “Go”.
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My 7 year old was also enjoying himself, having fixed his eye on a couple of properties on the board, but my 10-year old was feeling the same way I was and was vocal about it after the fourth round. We decided to wrap up the game then without that much protest from the younger two who resumed playing with the gadgets.

Monopoly is a fun game, really. I love that we get to teach our kids basic Math through it, and also teach them about accumulating properties and the principles of salary and entrepreneurship through it.

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I think, though, that a travel toy like this is more suitable for older players, because it’s just too exhausting to try to keep the game together while struggling with the tiny objects that are being used in the game while entertaining the small ones.

I’m usually very particular in how you return the items of a board game in its box, with this one, though, I have yet to separate the toy bills and put the same ones back together in the pile. Maybe when I find time when we get back home. The size of the pieces just made me feel too lazy to be meticulous about it.

Speaking of Grab & Go Monopoly, we made a video of the unboxing that you can find here. Enjoy!

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June 8, 2016
by May De Jesus-Palacpac
17 Comments

Success to Significance: Sun Life introduces the Money E-Planner and the Bus to the Future

Attending Sun Life events is one of my most favorite thing to do as a blogger. There’s always something new and useful to learn and they push me to focus on our investment goals. So when Brian Micasa and Arnel Bautista of Travel Mate Philippines told me about Sun Life Financial’s Ri5e towards Money 4 Life event, I cleared my schedule to be able to go.

Sun Life Financial has declared the month of June as the “Financial Independence Month” and is introducing a new tool called the Money E-planner and the Bus to the Future.
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The Money E-Planner

The Money E-Planner  is for those who would like to know their investment possibilities first before they actually meet with a financial advisor.

The Money E-Planner can help you figure out the right insurance plan for you based on your life stage, how much you’re willing to invest and how often.

This is how it looks like:

money-e-planner

It also helps you weigh them out with your goals for, let’s say, the next fifteen to twenty years.  You will need to say how much experience you have in investments and your attitude towards investing as these are important as these details will help the system draw results customised to your needs and personality:

Here’s how it looks like:

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After inputting some of these details, it will drum up investment plans for you to look through and consider. You can choose to read through the content to know more about it or you can request to talk to a Sun Life financial advisor once you’re ready.

Mine came up with Sun Maxilink Prime, Sun Maxilink One and Balanced Fund.

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I don’t know about you, but whenever I learn of new investment possibilities for us, it excites me even more. All is not lost! I’m definitely going to study these options and talk to my financial advisor about it. Preparation is key.

Why don’t you try out the Money E-Planner now? It’s fun!

The Bus to the Future

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Sun Life Financial is really being proactive about educating people about finances. I think I mentioned before that I sense genuine concern here for the Filipino people. In fact, Brighter Life Coach and Finance Expert, Aya Laraya, said that it doesn’t even matter where you choose to invest once you’ve set your goals and have chosen the right financial partner for yourself; as long as you invest in your future.

The bigger goal is to help the people and contribute to the nation’s progress.

According to Sun Life CEO Riza Mantaring, this year, Sun Life is shifting their focus from Success to Significance. For me, that says a lot. It tells me that the people behind this company have their hearts in their right places.

Going back to the bus, Sun Life Financial has come up with a technology that would provide Filipinos a way to visualize your future based on your chosen life stage.

bus-future-visual

Maybe I’m easy to impress, but it’s really cool when you put on those pair of goggles (haha!) and see how your financial future may look after a few years.

The Bus of the Future will be touring the metro and beyond, making stops at Bonifacio Global High Street on June 11, Eastwood on June 19, SM City Cebu on June 25, and Solenad, Nuvali on July 2.

The Bus will also visit several universities and colleges, such as the Mapua Institute of Technology on June 2, Ateneo Graduate School of Business on June 12, De La Salle University on June 16, UP Diliman on June 17, San Sebastian College on June 20, University of San Carlos in Cebu on June 24, Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila on June 29 and UP Los Banos on June 30.

Sun Life Advisors will be around to accommodate queries and inquiries, so if you have any questions, ask away.

Now if you belong to the younger generation…

The best time to invest in your future is now when you’re still single and has less financial obligations. It gets harder to start on it when you’re already married, paying bills, purchasing diapers and milk, or sending your kids to school.

Some young people commented in my previous blogs that they’re still too young to think about insurances and would like to enjoy their youth first.

Listen, I thought the same way and trust me, it was the wrong way. You can retire and enjoy the rest of your life earlier than most if you’re being smart about your money now.

Many Filipinos find themselves at a loss when something unexpected happens because they did not prepare for it. We know it because we’ve been there. And even when we’ve wised up on our finances a few years ago, we still suffer the consequences of those bad decisions we made when we were your age.

So invest in your future. The earlier you do it, the better it will be for you and for the people you love.

(READ: Plan your retirement)

Where we are…

We opened our first mutual fund last January. We marked it our “retirement fund.” Our goal is to bring our investment up to at least Php 30,000, which I learned in my research is a good amount to maintain for MF’s, before we start on the kids’  mutual funds.

I have to admit we were sidetracked a bit so we have not been able to add to our initial investment of Php 5,000, but since we’ve steered back the right financial route, we can now resume our plans to deposit every month. The minimum deposit is only Php 1,000. It’s very doable for us.

It’s a good thing, too, that during one of the sessions, we were handed a blank checklist where we can jot down our goals for the next 6 months to three years and so forth, indicate the level of importance of each goal to us, jot down how we plan to achieve these goals and set an estimated deadline for them.

It looks like this:

check-list

Brighter Life Institute Goals Check list

I’m familiar with this form because I’ve already accomplished it when I went through Brighter Life Institute online to learn more about how to create a financial plan. I’ve even emailed a copy to my financial advisor so she can thump me on the head when I tend to be forgetful, haha!

The beauty of this simple activity is that it helps us lay out our financial goals and plans. It also simplifies what seems to be such a complicated thing to do. I’m glad we were made to do it because it reminded me that my children’s future is at stake here. It also helped me weed out the unnecessary so I can stay focused on what is necessary.

The checklist was handed out was during the talk given by Coach Aya Laraya of Pesos and Sense.

In his talk, Coach Aya addressed a particular Filipino mindset where he pointed out how we have been pre-conditioned against gaining wealth. As an example, he compared the popular Hollywood superheroes to their local counterparts.

Batman, Professor X, Arrow and Iron Man are all wealthy, while Darna, Captain Barbell and Panday all hail from proud but poor families.

The point he was driving at was that many Filipinos are subconsciously afraid of getting wealthy because they associate the good with being poor, because this is what we are exposed to in our culture.

He then said that you can help more people if you have the financial means to help them, (not just the heart and the skills). BOOM! (hahaha, I feel so awkward saying Boom!)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to learning more from him in the #Money4Life challenge workshops. I’m sure that my husband and I still have a lot to learn in terms of managing our earnings and making financial decisions.

Jay and I know that if we are to succeed in this, we need to work hard for it, commit to it, and  learn more about it. We need all the help and expert advise we can get.

Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies, a leading financial services organization that provides protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporations.

June 6, 2016
by May De Jesus-Palacpac
38 Comments

Judah and the Cupcakes: A Baking Workshop at The Maya Kitchen Studio

Judah was so looking forward to our baking class at Maya Kitchen Studio in Arnaiz Avenue, Makati. I told him as soon as I received confirmation that we are one of the 12 mom and child pairs that will be participating in the afternoon cupcake baking workshop. I was just as ecstatic as he was.

I’m no pro-baker but I do know how to bake the usual kitchen treats such as cookies, muffins and brownies. Recently I’ve tried the no-knead sour dough and pizza crust and I’d like to think that I did a good job, considering my very limited training and the size of my oven.

Me and Judah

Me and Judah. Photo by Joy Gurtiza of joygurtiza.com

13282520_10208618000961150_1035860506_oAt home, I let my kids join me in the kitchen as much as possible, unless I’m in a rush or if I’m baking a batch for someone else, then I will have to protect the cookies from my little cookie monsters, haha! All three of them love cooking and baking with me, but I noticed that my youngest has taken to it a little more than his older siblings.

In fact, when he takes his turn during gadgets day (we don’t let them use gadgets except on weekends or when necessary), he would use it to watch baking videos on YouTube.

The thing is, he’s five, and a really active one at that. I had to be sure he was going to pay attention and participate accordingly, and not cause a ruckus in the kitchen during the duration of the workshop. And since he’s been showing some good signs of taming down in public, I thought signing up was low risk. I was right!

(READ: MBP & Maya Kitchen Cupcake Baking Workshop: My first event with my bunso!)

Judah couldn’t wait to get to the kitchen to start. He was so excited especially when I put his apron on him. He was the smallest in the group, more so in ours. The kids in our group were most likely between 10 to 12 years old. I didn’t have time to interview them, sorry.

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Anyway, the more complicated steps in the instructions were done by the girls. Judah was allowed to mix the batter and add in some of the ingredients. I had to keep an eye on him because during the first session, while I was washing some of the wooden spoons, he excitedly put in the baking soda meant for the second cupcake recipe. 

mixing-baking

Baking is an exact science; exceeding in measurement will affect how your cupcakes will turn out.

It’s a good thing that the pastry chef just gave us another mixture to use and the kids were able to bake the yummy Strawberries and Cream cupcake. (The other was Peanut Butter and Choc Chip cupcake).

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The best part was when the kids were asked to participate in making the frosting. I was so happy, and quite surprised actually, when Judah lined up on his own and waited patiently for his turn to add in the powder.

You see, Judah doesn’t like lines. He must really love baking to get in line just like that and wait without a fuss!

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Image by Joy Gurtiza of joygurtiza.com

Once the frosting was mixed thoroughly on the machine, they were able to put frosting on their own cupcakes and eat the rest of them, haha!

Our box of cupcakes don’t look anything  you’d buy from Martha’s but they, most particularly the Strawberries and Cream ones, were da bomb!

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Judah couldn’t wait to eat his cupcakes. I watched him try to steal his own cupcakes in between the activities when he thought no one was looking, hahaha!

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They also sent us home with some pancake and baking mixes. I would’ve used the baking mixes to make more cupcakes but my kids love pancakes so much, they just kept making and making and making pancakes every morning for breakfast until we ran out of mixes.

That’s okay by me as long as they continue learning how to prepare their own breakfasts.

Mommy Bloggers of Mommy Bloggers Philippines a The Maya Kitchen Studio

Mommy Bloggers of Mommy Bloggers Philippines a The Maya Kitchen Studio. Image provided by Joy Gurtiza of joygurtiza.com.

I’m formally homeschooling Judah this school year and baking is going to be a huge part of our home school. I can tell that it will teach him self-control and patience, and will help him practice the use of his hands.

Thank you The Maya Kitchen and Mommy Bloggers Philippines for giving me an avenue to see how ready my kid is for this.  There’s definitely going to be magic happening in our tiny kitchen!

Special thanks to the other sponsors of the event: Glad Kitchen and Yummy Magazine.

For those of you who are interested to register your kids and/or teens for baking workshops, here’s the schedule this June:

The Maya Kitchen June Workshops-COLLAGE

For inquiries, please contact Maya Kitchen at:

Website: www.mayakitchen.com
Email: contactus@themayakitchen.com
Contact number: 02-8921185 | 0929-6796102

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